Wales has been confirmed as the international partner at the Showcase Scotland Expo 2022. The Showcase is part of the internationally renowned music festival, Celtic Connections. The annual January event usually takes place in Glasgow, but this year’s edition is an online celebration that has already attracted thousands of viewers from all over the world.
Celtic Connections has been at the fore-front of re-defining Celtic cultures worldwide – with a focus on collaboration and on welcoming all cultures. This year, the festival is being welcomed into homes across the globe and is bringing joy at a difficult time for all.
The industry event, Showcase Scotland, is a springboard for artists and music industry workers with resulting footprints way beyond Scotland. It offers bookers and promoters a chance to engage with Scottish, Welsh and international artists, international festivals, venues and cultural agencies.
In 2022 six artists from Wales will be selected to perform through an open call, and there will also be opportunities to foster closer creative collaborations between Wales and Scotland.
Commenting on the news Dafydd Elis Thomas, Wales’ Culture Minister said:
“At a time when artists in Wales and Scotland are facing unprecedented challenges to survive and maintain their professions, our governments and agencies welcome the opportunity to create and re-set opportunities for our talented musicians and music industry.
“This will be an important landmark for Wales and Scotland in marking the start of the UNESCO Decade for indigenous languages and as our nations and cultures build new music and language-based partnerships in Europe and internationally.”
Welcoming the news, Fiona Hyslop, Scottish Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Fair Work and Culture said:
“I welcome this partnership between Scotland and Wales for the 2022 edition of Showcase Scotland which has helped musicians develop international careers for more than 20 years.
“The Scottish Government will continue to work closely with partners across Scotland, the other UK nations, the rest of Europe and beyond to help ensure our artists – and international artists touring in Scotland – have the support they need to share their work here and abroad.”
Announcing Wales as a partner nation, Lisa Whytock Executive Producer of Showcase Scotland said:
“We are delighted to welcome Wales as our International Partner for 2022 and look forward to working together in the coming months to look at ways that our artists and industry can collectively thrive. We are proud of the platform that Showcase Scotland has offered to artists over the past two decades and are continually inspired by the outstanding musical talent that is on offer at Celtic Connections and the global industry that it brings together each year.”
In the virtual launch event, Showcase Scotland’s global delegates will enjoy featured performances by three artists from Wales, all filmed in unique outdoor locations. Lisa Jên, lead singer of the band 9Bach will sing acapela to audiences from Chwarel Dorothea- a disused slate quarry. N’famady Kouyaté is a traditional Balafon drummer from Guinea, West Africa. Now living and working in Wales, he was was filmed against in the spectacular mountain range of Eryri (Snowdonia). Gareth Bonello’s performance comes from the Welsh language festival Tafwyl in Cardiff Castle.
Some of the artists will appear in the Wales night at Celtic Connections Thursday 28th of January featuring highlights of Ara Deg Festival, created by Neuadd Ogwen and musician Gruff Rhys. Further information on: https://www.celticconnections.com/whats-on/calendar/
The Wales partnership is led by Eluned Haf, Head of Wales Arts International:
“Wales’s thriving music scene is unique and diverse. We invite international audiences to experience our thriving Celtic language and culture, as we ll as the diverse music cultures, lived experiences and living traditions. At a time when the global pandemic has been felt locally, we want to connect the global with the local through music during this next year.
“As the music industry, including our festivals and live music venues, in both our nations are struggling to survive, and adapting to the new rules with our European neighbours, we hope that by working together we can help to re-build the careers of musicians to be back on stages as soon as possible whilst also growing on-line audiences whilst performing live is restricted.”
A consortium of Welsh music organisations are partners in the project, including Focus Wales, Neuadd Ogwen, Butetown Arts & Culture Association, BBC Cymru Wales, Welsh Government, British Council, Theatr Mwldan, trac, Tŷ Cerdd, Pyst, National Eisteddfod and Wales Millennium Centre.
We warmly invite Wales-based musicians interested in applying for the opportunity to showcase at Showcase Scotland next year to head to our website www.wai.org.uk on 28 January when the call for applications will open. The opportunity will be accompanied by a range of artist development initiatives.
On the 26th of January, a virtual round table meeting between Welsh and Scottish stakeholders will take place to develop closer collaboration between Wales and Scotland.
On 28th January we're looking forward to the Wales night at Celtic Connections featuring highlights of Ara Deg Festival, created by Neuadd Ogwen and musician Gruff Rhys. Further information on: https://www.celticconnections.com/event/1/night-of-wales-at-celtic-connections